After months of concentrating on Patriots, jets, chargers, oilers and Falcons, the soldiers of Operation Desert Storm were happy to think only about Bills and Giants.
"This may sound corny, but you couldn't make it no better," Cpl. Pierre Thibodeaux, 25, of San Antonio said as he huddled with 60 other soldiers in the chilly morning air watching the Super Bowl broadcast on a pair of televisions set up at their military base."Yes, the guys up at the front could be watching the game instead of listening to the radio," he said. "They're probably sitting in foxholes with PRC-77 radios keeping in contact with someone with an AM-FM radio."
Thibodeaux and the others at their base, however, stood or sat on picnic tables to watch the game, broadcast at after 2:30 a.m. local time over the Armed Forces television network.
Some wrapped themselves in sleeping bags, others stamped their feet and rubbed their hands to keep warm. They ate popcorn and drank sodas.
All became very serious during the national anthem, with some saluting and others putting their hands over their hearts, never taking their eyes off the screen.
"I enjoyed it (the anthem) a lot more than normal," said Sgt. Kevin Duclos, 26, of Rochester, N.Y. "You take a lot of things for granted at home. It makes you appreciate things more when you finally do get home.
"It feels weird to be watching here," he said.
"There is no place like America," said Sgt. First Class Paul Burch, 42, of Sterling, Ill. "The Super Bowl is a ritual at our house."
Burch and several others joked about being a "Patriots fan," referring to the U.S. anti-missile system that has shot down virtually every Scud missile launched at Saudi Arabia since the war began.
Many had suspected Iraq would use the Super Bowl as an opportunity to fire another Scud in their direction, but the game was completed without any alarms being sounded.
"We're probably bombing the heck out of him right now," so I'm not oo worried about it," said Spec. Glenn Forbes, 35, of Montgomery, Ala. "We're ruining his Super Bowl too."